An Idea Whose Time is Here: Term Limits ⋆ Politicrossing
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An Idea Whose Time is Here: Term Limits

Those elected to Congress in their 30s or 40s can end up serving for 30 to 40 years or more

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The science is settled! (as one party likes to say repeatedly). We’re living far longer and healthier than ever before. In 1900, the median age of Americans at the age of death was 49 years old. In 2018,  that figure had risen to above age 80.

As our life spans increase, no one thinks beans about dementia-free septuagenarians running for president, and soon enough, an octogenarian, someone in his or her 80s, will run for president, and such a candidate could win. That brings us to the issue of term limits.

When the Founding Fathers first drafted the Constitution setting out the ground rules as to who could be a senator or congressional representative, they couldn’t easily have foreseen the advanced life spans to which we have aspired.

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For sure, Ben Franklin lived to be 84 years old, Thomas Jefferson 83, James Madison 85, and John Adams 90. However, they were anomalies for their era. George Washington only made it to 67. As late as 1970, life expectancy in the U.S. hovered at a fraction above age 70.

Swamp Things Who Refuse to Die

We’re faced with the current reality that congressional representatives and senators, elected in their 30s or 40s can end up serving for 30 to 40 years or more. We have a vile and vindictive Nancy Pelosi now 81; a man of spirits, Patrick Leahy, approaching 81; and “did we leak?”Dianne Feinstein, 87; all who should have been un-elected decades ago.

A few Republicans have served long as well; Chuck Grassley, 87, and Richard Shelby, 86, come to mind. In any case, serving more than 30 years in the Senate, indeed more than 24 years, and, it could be argued, more than 18 years, is probably way too much. The Founding Fathers did not envision congressional representation as a career, let alone, a lifetime avocation.

Seven-year senator Ted Kennedy, in a jurisdiction outside of Massachusetts, could have been convicted for manslaughter or at least leaving the scene of an accident and lying to county and city officials regarding the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Yet, he served another 40 years in the Senate, for a total of 47 years.

A Big Push is Needed

A push for term limits is not going to happen under Biden, or whoever is running the show from the White House, and his cronies in the Senate and House of Representatives. Unfortunately, when the Trump administration had a GOP majority in the House and the Senate, it did not push for term limits. That would have been the most opportune time.

If a push for term limits were to magically happen, the first order of business would be to determine an appropriate term length for senators and representatives. I suggest three terms in the Senate, totaling 18 years.

I suggest six terms in the house totaling 12 years. Why the disparity? Senators, being lesser in number in most states, don’t run as often and need to generate influence during their tenure. Moreover, continuity of leadership seems vital in the senate.

In the House, congressional representatives are virtually running for office perpetually, so six elections is plenty. A limit of 12 years would eliminate maniacal leaders (hint: Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters, Eric Swalwell) from rising to the top and staying put decades past the time that they are already harming America.

Career Politicians Excluded

William F. Buckley once said something along the lines of, “I would sooner be governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2,000 members of the faculty of Harvard.” As corollary, I would sooner be governed by the first 2,000 names in any swing state city phone directory than by the 117th Congress.

An underlying problem with this or any congress, ever supporting a term limits amendment, is that whoever is in power at the time likely doesn’t want this amendment drive to proceed. For the good of the country, however, some patriots might proceed, recognizing that the strength of America, far into the future, is more important than their particular tenure.

Perhaps a Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, or Marsha Blackburn would be strong vocal proponents, especially if and when they knew that a sound approach to governing was in place. Thankfully, a group called U.S. Term Limits is seeking to initiate a convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, to propose a term limits amendment for the U.S. House and Senate.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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News

Achievements Through the Ages

Marshaling resources, establishing order, and carefully scheduling activities and events are vital in any era

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Besides being regarded as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, what do these sites have in common: the Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, in what is now Iraq; the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece; the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Turkey; the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, in what is now Bodrum, Turkey; the Colossus of Rhodes in Greece; and the Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt?

Added to the above, what do the following sites, often referred to as the New Seven Wonders of the World, have in common? The Great Wall of China; Petra, an archaeological city in southern Jordan; the Colosseum in Rome, Italy; Chichen Itza in the Yucatán of Mexico; Machu Picchu in the Cuzco region of Peru; the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India; and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

Last, what do these have in common: the Acropolis in Athens, Greece; the Suez Canal; the Panama Canal; the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey; Teotihuacan in the Basin of Mexico; the Empire State Building in New York City; the Eiffel Tower in Paris; the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, China; El Mirador in Guatemala; the Tower of London; and many other notable places around the world?

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Long Before Today’s Tools of Technology

The answer to all of the above, in a nutshell, is that they are major architectural, landscaping, or construction feats that were conceived, built, and perfected without the aid of a computer, software, or any of the technological tools that are commonly associated with project management.

The same can be said of the Great Canadian Railway, the Patagonia Highway in South America, the Hoover Dam in Arizona, the Itaipu Dam bordering Brazil and Paraguay, the U.S. Interstate Highway System, the Great Siege Tunnels of Gibraltar, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Trans-Siberian Highway, the Aswan Dam in Egypt, the first passenger ocean liners, pre-World War II aircraft, early steel mills, etc.

Regarding the “Wonders” named above, to say it another way, long before anyone knew about electricity, let alone cyberspace or management software and spreadsheets, ambitious civilizations around the globe, pioneering builders, devised and constructed some of the most enduring, iconic sites and destinations in the world.

These massive projects involved conception (that is, the genesis of the idea), designing, planning, and material and labor considerations, all of which are part of today’s computer-aided world that obviously none of the builders and designers of these projects had at their disposal. As such, not all projects proceeded with the efficiency that today’s projects can muster. There were costly delays, high accident and mortality rates, and sometimes gargantuan setbacks. Despite it all, the march of civilization and the proliferation of monumental feats continued unabated.

Your Bottom Line

Whether it’s client services, team building, or what-have-you, what are their underlying concepts, and what makes their tenets viable now and for the future? You want to always seek both the short- and the long-term utility of a management methodology, a tool, a system, or even a set of beliefs.

With effective management, when you sweep away the contemporary hubbub, an underlying structure prevails. The need to marshal adequate resources, to establish order, and to carefully schedule activities and events, all remain vital in any era. Technological tools provide the contemporary template and operating systems by which we do proceed, while the underlying fundamentals of effective management are relatively constant.

When you stay open-minded to the available new terminology and tools, you’ll tend to learn new things and gain perspectives that you might not otherwise encounter. So, understand new terminology and tools, but do not be ensnared by them as if they are so vital that you can’t successfully manage a project without them.

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Education

Angry Parents Aren’t Terrorists—They’re Just Terrors to Public School Boards

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parents
Photo credit: Ryan Snaadt

Dear school boards: When you poke mama and papa bear, don’t be surprised when they growl and bare their teeth. And writing a letter to the president asking him to sic the FBI on parents rather than treating them as partners in education seems more political than needful.

To understand the gulf between parents and educators, just watch a school board meeting on youtube (if you still can). You’ll see concerned parents voicing their concerns at microphones. They look like defendants standing before judges in a tribunal. What happened to PTAs?

In school board meetings across the nation, parents are treated as opponents rather than partners. They’re frustrated and angry with imperious school boards who seem to insist that they know what’s best for their children.

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At times their anger causes them to raise their voices in passionate speeches. They love their children and seek to protect them from what they view as indoctrination, not education. Parental love drives their passion and triggers their protective instincts. This doesn’t make them domestic terrorists.

If school board members and teachers feel threatened by genuine threats in public meetings or on social media, they should be investigated—by local authorities, not by the federal government.

Yet last week the National School Boards Association (NSBA) wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to direct the Justice Department to investigate angry parents for hate crimes and domestic terrorism. Domestic terrorism.

Why are parents so angry? Three issues come to mind: mask mandates, sex education that includes transgenderism, and Critical Race Theory.

Mask mandates

Masks can and do help prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. But they’re not necessarily a good option for children simply because, by and large, the virus is not deadly to kids.

In fact, 98-99 percent of children who get COVID fully recover. With this in mind, by doing a simple risk assessment of masking schoolchildren versus not masking them, we’d conclude that it’s better to let them learn without masks.

Additionally, we simply don’t know the longterm adverse effects forced masking has on learning. Most kids are visual learners and take cues from facial expressions. Their socialization may also suffer as a result.

Clearly, because educators are more at risk of death from COVID-19, they should continue masking. Thoughtful parents know their children who do not have preexisting conditions are generally safe to attend school without masks.

Why do school boards and teachers unions continue to push unnecessary and likely harmful mask mandates on children? For whom are they most concerned with protecting? If they believe in masking, they should mask up and suck it up. If they’re still afraid, perhaps they’re not cut out to be educators.

Sex re-education

Teaching children about the birds and the bees is a parent’s job, not a teacher’s. Sex ed is a family issue, not the state’s. Can’t it wait until just before puberty, rather than being taught to kids K-5?

Many traditional parents share this opinion. So is the self-evident truth that binary genders exist in human biology—and in reality. Parents who embrace this truth and passionately speak up about it are now at risk of being accused of hate speech.

We are born male or female. No amount of surgery or hormone treatment changes this reality. Parents know this and also know that confusing kids with fantasy genders and damaging gender reassignment harms them.

Public school educators have more than enough on their plates with teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. They should leave sex education to parents and resist pressure to push gender nonsense on impressionable children.

Parents are also concerned with the prospect of hormonally-altered boys competing against their girls in sports. This obviously gives males unfair physically advantages and presents a danger to the health of welfare of overmatched females.

The Journal of Medical Ethics affirmed this reality in a recent study in which the researchers concluded that “the advantage to transwomen afforded by the IOC guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

Bad theory

What is Critical Race Theory?

Critical Race Theory (CRT), as defined in a video by the Heritage Foundation, is a philosophy founded on Marxist analysis that claims America is “systemically racist.”

CRT proponents, active in colleges and universities for years, now seek to impact public policy in public schools. As a result, CRT is beginning to gain a foothold in K-12. This makes parents angry.

Most parents and some educators and school board members reject CRT’s racial discrimination for equity in favor of equality and opportunity for all— regardless of skin color.

The vast majority of thoughtful and caring parents believe that CRT teaches children to feel guilty for their “whiteness” while accepting the lie that America’s systems are inherently racist.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act dealt a mortal blow to systemic racism in America. Critical Race Theory ignores this landmark legislation and the fact that racism resides in people, not systems.

Obviously, there a differing definitions of systemic racism held by those on both sides of the issue. Just as there are differing definitions of “hate speech.” Perhaps it would be helpful to rely on definitions that are based in logic and common sense rather than emotion and agenda.

In the minds of many parents, Critical Race Theory is nothing more than partisan propaganda. CRT is harmful because it produces unmerited guilt, divides us and denies the attainability of the American Dream for people of color.

This is not borne out by our nation’s history. Rather, it’s debunked by generations of immigrants and people of color who came to America legally and made better and more prosperous lives for themselves and their families.

Terrorists or terrors?

To justify their appeal to the president for federal law enforcement support, the National School Boards Association is misapplying words and phrases to vilify angry and frustrated parents. Why? They’re either seeking to clear obstacles to their agenda and/or they mistake parental passion for peril to themselves.

Have some angry parents (or those who side with them) gone too far with social media attacks and threats? Probably. Does any of this have to do with genuine hate speech or domestic terrorism? Unlikely.

What’s more likely is that words like hate and terror are being misused to trigger more government interference in the lives of parents and their children.

Branding angry parents domestic terrorists is absurd hyperbole at best and political weaponization at worst. Parents who are merely resisting ideological intrusion into their public schools—and their children’s lives—deserve better.

What we need is an overhaul of a failing public school system and vouchers for charter schools and alternative educational systems like home schooling.

Why should we continue funding increasingly political public schools? Why should we believe school boards who claim parents are engaging in hate speech, threats of violence, and terrorism when most seek merely to protect their children by exercising their freedom of speech with passion and conviction?

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